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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

planting on verge.

Posted: 27/02/2013 at 21:33

Hi Lyn, have a look here for the various ways of 'annexing' land.  As I understand it, one cannot be prosecuted for 'stealing' land, provided all of the rules are followed!

Unhappy Magnolia Grandiflora: frost damage?

Posted: 27/02/2013 at 20:59

If you have a more sheltered spot, say somewhere in a sunny corner where a fence, hedge or wall will shade it from the early morning sun (ie with a fence/hedge/wall to its East), you would probably be OK to move it now.  If you do, prepare a fairly large (say, 1m x 1m, 2 spades deep) hole first, digging-in plenty of compost, drive in a good hardwood (eg oak) tree stake, then try and take as much of the rootball with the tree as you can when you dig it up.  Re-plant the tree so that the base of the trunk is at the same ground level as it was when you back-fill the hole.  Finally, tie the stem to the stake with a tree-tie.  You'll need to keep it well watered for the rest of the year, watering at least once a week.

An alternative to moving it may be to plant a large shrub a few feet away to the East to provide the morning shade and give it a bit of shelter.  It's difficult to know how old it is, but if it is only 2 or 3 years old, there's a good chance it will survive being moved.  Before doing anything though, could you upload a photo of it in ithe current location?  For all we know, it might already be in a suitable place and may have some other problem!

Fertilising plum trees

Posted: 27/02/2013 at 18:18

You won't go far wrong with fish, blood and bone sprinked around the roots, but something with more Potash would be better to help fruiting.  Although there are several fertilizers sold especially for fruit trees, the formulation is pretty much the same as potato fertilizer (which is usually much cheaper!)  In general you should look for ones with high K (Potash) with N (Nitrogen) and P (Phosphorous) being lower and about the same as each other, in the NPK ratio on the box. Something with N-P-K of 5-7-12, or 5-5-10.  If in doubt, ask for potato fertilizer!

Tree roots will cover an area about the same diameter as the branches above, so spread the fertilizer evenly over that area - avoid putting it all near the base of the trunk where it will do very little good.


Unhappy Magnolia Grandiflora: frost damage?

Posted: 27/02/2013 at 17:55

That variety really needs a sheltered spot.  If it's in an open position, it will suffer badly from frost and cold winds.  They also don't like early morning sun and should really be staked throughout their life.  In other words, they're a bit fussy!

Recycling things to use in the garden

Posted: 26/02/2013 at 23:08
Miss C wrote (see)

Fruit punnets already have holes punched in so are useful as planting trays or for cut and come again salad leaves in the house.  Plastic take away tubs also get used as plant trays in our house.

I use those too and also sometimes put one on top, sticking a bit of tape long the join on one side, effectively making a mini-propagator.

That's shallot!

Posted: 26/02/2013 at 22:44

Hi Verdun, Yes, the shallot bulbs will send out several shoots each and slowly 'split' with usually 6-8 new bulbs forming in a circle, so I grow them about 8-10 inches apart.  Like onions, they're greedy plants so give them plenty of feed.  I usually trowel a bit of fish, blood and bone into each planting position. Given a reasonable summer, they can produce a really good crop!

Early sowing

Posted: 26/02/2013 at 18:50

The good news is you can bury the stem of both brassicas and tomatoes, planting them up to the first leaves but, IME, it's always better to wait a bit before sowing unless you have a very well lit place which remains between 5C and 15C.  The windowsill in an unheated room is usually about right.  Centrally heated rooms are too warm.  To maximise light, you can place part of a cardboard box covered in tin foil behind them, so the front of the seedlings get light directly from the window and the back of the plants get light reflected from the foil.

It Is Not Spring Yet !!!

Posted: 26/02/2013 at 18:33

Same happened to me in the greenhouse last weekend, Joyce.  I removed the old soil from the borders and then realised I had no feeling left in my fingers.  It's supposed to be a bit warmer in there, too!


Posted: 26/02/2013 at 18:27
Leggi wrote (see)
There isn't an option to insert smileys on an iPhone or iPad, you can guess some but it would be useful if the smart technical people would change the settings for us to be able to use the site in full.

Yes, someone should contact Apple and tell them to make their devices work with existing standards!

Grape vine for my band stand....

Posted: 24/02/2013 at 16:43

Good luck, Tilley, and do heed their advice about preparing the planting hole well as effort put in there now will pay huge dividends later.  Vines really, really need to develop a good root system for the first few years, so if any bunches of grapes form in the first couple of years (and certainly the first year), do cut them off, however tempting it is to leave them on!  With new vines, letting them fruit in their first year may exhaust the stored energy in the wood and it will then take much longer to establish (or may even die!) 

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Christmas has come early

New trees 
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Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
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Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
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Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
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Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
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Last Post: 13/07/2014 at 18:04

Bob's guide to picking soft fruit

Only fto be read by your household's main gardener! 
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Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
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Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
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Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 21:44

A week of rain = jungle garden!

It's been too wet to really do anything outside.. 
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Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 492
Last Post: 24/04/2014 at 11:30

Check your delphiniums for caterpillars

Look for distorted and damaged leaves near the tips 
Replies: 10    Views: 536
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 282
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39


Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 581
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
Replies: 13    Views: 609
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31

DIY heated propagator

Making one from scratch 
Replies: 48    Views: 4947
Last Post: 30/06/2014 at 19:57
1 to 15 of 26 threads